Where can I find centrist discussion?

The real problem is how some positions seemed to have become the “default” right or left positions, without any consideration that there might be a left or right justification for that position.

You mention healthcare. In the US, “Medicare for all” has become the default left position, and “Free market For-Profit Insurance” has become the default right position. The problem is, there are a lot of good reasons why the right should also support something like Medicare for all.

First and foremost, it’s been proven to be cheaper overall. When did the “conservatives” start wanting to waste money?

Secondly, it increases “personal freedom”. When your healthcare is tied to your job, you are much less likely to tell you boss to go screw themselves, if they start to abuse you. You’re less likely to quit and start your own business, even if you like your boss. When did “entrepreneurship” stop being a “conservative” value?

Thirdly, it makes businesses, particularly small businesses, more competitive, by eliminating a huge annual cost, and the complexity involved in running it. When did “increased competitiveness” stop being a “conservative value”?

Fourthly, it protect businesses by making employees healthier, which helps avoid disruptions to their business plans.

But trying to find a modern “conservative” who agrees with any of that, and supports medicare for all, is like hunting Bigfoot. Sometimes you hear something screaming in the woods, but you never actually see one.

Ditto climate change – once both sides accept it as fact, then the argument can be over how to solve it. Market solutions, like a carbon tax or cap and trade? Or, government mandates, like bans on certain emissions, power generations methods, or car mileage requirements?

You can have a nuanced, conservative vs. liberal discussion on how to deal with climate change, but both sides have to agree that it’s actually a problem that exists. I’m pretty liberal, but I think that market solutions like carbon taxes and cap and trade will be much more effective than government mandates. Even free-marketers agree that you have to put a price on externalities like pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Cap and trade worked really well for reducing sulfur dioxide emissions that caused acid rain for example.

Here on the SDMB, you can definitely have a nuanced, centrist discussion that pitted more conservative market-based solutions with more liberal government regulations. But, if centrist means that you’re not sure whether climate change exists or is a problem, then discussion will probably not be as cordial.

I agree with the thrust of your post, but I think even the framing of it as conservative vs liberal is a mistake.
Because firstly, there should be debate within parties too, and maybe some groups of Dems and GOP find common ground.
And secondly I don’t think it should always flow from central ideology. It should be fine for a party to be generally anti-regulation but to come to the conclusion that regulation is a good thing in this specific case, for example.

I know while I am speaking this way I may as well wish for a marshmallow city atop a rainbow – it’s a million light years from a realistic expectation for politics is in the US right now. I’m just saying how it should work in principle.

This, I believe is the key point in preventing the sort of discussion the OP mentioned, where they and their companion can argue different points of an issue and mutually convince the other. To use a single example, if a Democrat argues that Medicare for all would help insure sufficient access to vaccines for all people regardless of social/income status, and the Republican says ‘but vaccines are created from alien DNA to make people less religious’ - you’re not going to have a reasoned debate, or be able to move the position of the other party.

Going back to the terms centrist and moderate: I think that few people deliberately identify with these terms anymore because both major parties tend to have ‘bright lines’ they don’t want you to cross. Sure, the Democrat’s still allow a LOT more leeway that the current incarnation of the GOP, but they still have some expectations of a party line. And they fully accept this for their members who hold seats in areas which would otherwise likely be solidly Republican.

But rather than be deemed a moderate/centrist as an individual and harped at by your ‘fellow travelers’, I think this is behind the tendency to label oneself as an ‘independent.’ Especially when most independents vote comfortably along one party line or another. This would be in line with what other posters have said when it comes to individuals who have POVs that tend to be issue specific in which they are out of line with the mainstream party.

This is one thing I really like about Biden - he keeps pointing out how dealing with climate change will require all sorts of new technologies - and every single one of them is a potential new industry that, were we to embrace them, could keep the economy going for decades to come.

And yet, somehow, the Super Capitalists in the GOP would rather leave all that to China, who is quite rapidly coming to dominate both the wind and solar power industries.

The Chinese also have put a lot of resources into developing electric cars, and the batteries as well.

I think part of being a “moderate” is being able to hold a “party line” belief, while still being able to acknowledge that the opposing position has some merits, even if you think those merits don’t weigh enough to alter your position.

Take abortion, as a classic touchstone. I can understand the anti-abortion position, in fact I’m personally uncomfortable with the idea of abortion. The reality of it is quite awful no matter how you look at it.

But at the same time, I’m pro-choice, because the effects of banning abortion are, so far as I can tell, far worse. And, abortion being as awful as it is, I figure anyone who chooses to get one probably has a pretty good reason, and I shouldn’t second guess that.

But I still understand at least some of the opposition to abortion.

This is the one and only point that needs to be made in this thread. Why even ask for a discussion that is not feasible in practice. Politics, no matter what some people believe, is not about principles; it is about perceived realities and the compromises needed to extract policies and programs. There are many public needs for which multitudes of potential solutions exist and arguments can reasonably be made to settle on specific courses of action. Yet there are also many issues for which two sides don’t rationally exist, the best example being slavery before the Civil War. All the centrist solutions posited - and they were legion - were wrong. The two sides did not live in the same world.

The “definition” of what is “centre” and what is “right” and “left” is a moving target depending on the times.

When I was a child and it was immunization time (polio, small pox, whooping cough, etc) we just got sent to the school nurse, the kids stuck out their arms and boom, it was done. None of this “protest” rubbish about it.

No one dreamed of storming government buildings to take politicians hostage.

However, “right” or “left” it was quite acceptable to shun “the native Indians” here in western Canada or refer to black people as “darkies”.